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Introduction to Religious Experience LO: I will know about different types of Religious Experience.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Religious Experience LO: I will know about different types of Religious Experience."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Religious Experience LO: I will know about different types of Religious Experience

2 What is this all about? Why study it? Read Pg 33 For those who have religious experiences, these phenomena have authority and convince them that their religious beliefs are true or, in some cases, persuade them to change their religious beliefs.

3 Where we are heading: Different types of religious experience and consider what may be revealed about God through these experiences Arguments from religious experience from William James and the aims and main conclusions drawn by James Visions, voices, numinous experience, conversion experience, corporate religious experience The concept of revelation through sacred writings Be discussing ALL OF THE ABOVE areas critically, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses.

4 Key question What does ‘experience’ mean? Just empirical? Personal knowledge? I.e. to know Impact on others Feelings?

5 An example Terry Virgo is a Charismatic Christian. What can we learn from what he says here (First 3 mins only) deo&playnext=1&list=PL9909CB035ACDCCD5 deo&playnext=1&list=PL9909CB035ACDCCD5

6 Intro to Pneumatology Karkkainen, Journal of Pentecostal Theology : ‘Theology is simply reflection on the experience, giving shape to it making sense of it in its proper context.’ It is an experiential based doctrine tic-prayer-and-worship-in-south-africa/8431.html tic-prayer-and-worship-in-south-africa/8431.html

7 St Teresa of Avila’s testimony … ‘One day, when I was at prayer, the Lord was pleased to reveal to me nothing but His hands, the beauty of which was so great as to be indescribable. This made me very fearful, as does every new experience that I have when the Lord is beginning to grant me some supernatural favour. A few days later I also saw the divine face, which seemed to leave me completely absorbed. I could not understand why the Lord revealed Himself gradually like this since He was later to grant me the favour of seeing him wholly, until at length I realised that His majesty was leading me according to my natural weakness.’ 1.What has happened here? Possible explanations?

8 Definition … In pairs come up with a definition of Religious Experience. Using page 295 of Taylor, make a note of the following: Otto’s description of the Numinous Direct Religious experience Indirect Religious experience Ineffable

9 Swinburne – Types of Experience Private Experiences 1. Describable in ordinary language (eg. Dreams, visions.) 2. Non-describable experiences (private experiences which cannot be put in to words. Often the mystic will resort to contradictions to try to express himself, e.g. ‘black did not cease to be black, nor white cease to be white, but black became white and white became black.) 3. Non-specific experiences – looking at the world from a particular perspective (religious). E.g. Looking back on past events, a believer might say ‘God’s hand guided me.’

10 Public Experiences 1. Ordinary Experiences – experiences of ordinary events which are interpreted as having particular religious significance. E.g. A believer might look at the night sky and see the hand of God. 2. Extraordinary Experiences – experiences of extraordinary events that seem to violate existing laws (i.e. miracles).

11 Summary – Types of experience from Swinburne


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